[image-1] The day before S.C. Democrats hold their presidential primary, the man they are all trying to unseat will fill North Charleston Coliseum for a campaign rally.
President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he will hold a Keep America Great rally in the coliseum on Fri. Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. Tickets are free and available online.
With Trump up for re-election in November, the S.C. Republican Party declined to have a primary this year. The party announced the move last year a day before former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford began a brief primary challenge to the president.
"We are thrilled to welcome President Trump back to South Carolina," Republican leader Drew McKissick said in a statement. "For more than a year, Democrats have been running all across our state trying to sell a radical socialist agenda."
Recent polls show former Vice President Joe Biden leading in South Carolina, though democratic socialist U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has done well in early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. Nevada voters will hold caucuses on Sat. Feb. 22, and South Carolina voters head to the polls on Feb. 29.
Trump's visit on Feb. 28 is at least the third time he's appeared at the North Charleston Coliseum or Convention Center, speaking previously on Sept. 24, 2015 and Feb. 19, 2016 ahead of his win in the S.C. Republican primary. Trump also visited Boeing South Carolina in 2017, where he made a weird joke about Air Force One being hot.
[content-3] Trump has collected support from Republican politicians across the state. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has been among Trump's biggest defenders and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, a North Charleston native, defended the president on the Senate floor during the unsuccessful impeachment hearings. North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey also endorsed Trump during the 2016 visit.
Local support has not translated into election success for Trump in Charleston though. It was Marco Rubio who won earned the most Charleston County votes in the 2016 GOP primary and Hillary Clinton who won the county in the 2016 general election. And in 2018, after Trump propelled Katie Arrington to a surprise GOP primary upset in the 1st Congressional District over Sanford, she lost to Democrat Joe Cunningham months later.
The seating capacity of the North Charleston Coliseum, where next week's rally will be held, is 13,000-14,000 depending on configuration.